Volleyball Finishes Rose Hill Classic with Five-Set Win over Bryant
Bronx, N.Y. – The Fordham volleyball team got back in the win column on Saturday afternoon, wrapping up the 16th annual Rose Hill Classic with a thrilling five-set victory over Bryant. With the result, the Rams improve to 2-4 on the year, while the Bulldogs fall to 4-3. The hosts posted a 1-2 mark during the tournament with five sets won overall "Today was huge for our growth as we didn't succumb to the pattern of starting strong and dropping off," Head coach Ian Choi said after her first home victory, "Towards the end of the fourth set during a timeout there was a turning point, as the girls acknowledged that an unconditional respect and trust for each other is the attitude to have on the court. It wasn't until we met this resistance that we came to this epiphany." For the second time in three matches, the Rams found themselves leading two sets to none and in similar fashion, too. Fordham led wire-to-wire in the first set, 25-19, before outlasting the Bulldogs in a thrilling 32-30 second set, the longest frame of either team's season thus far. After the extended break, however, Bryant rebounded with two comprehensive performances in sets three and four, outscoring the Rams, 50-28, over that time. Like Friday, the Rams led early in the fifth set but, unlike the result of Friday's contest against Marist, Fordham kept its momentum and lead by as much as eight while coasting to the win. After 13 attack errors and just 12 kills in the previous two sets, the Fordham offense reared back into gear and tallied eight kills to just two errors and a .375 percentage, compared to Bryant's -.125 mark, while the defense stepped up with timely blocks. The trio of McKenna Lahr, Joey Landeros, and Kaitlin Morley all reached 14 kills, with Lahr hitting 15. Landeros enjoyed a terrific match, setting a new personal best for kills and doing so at a .294 clip on 34 total attacks. The freshman also chipped in two aces, two blocks, and two digs. Lahr added nine digs and three blocks, while Morley matched her career high of 18 digs. Morgan Williams notched 18 digs, as well, to tie for the team lead, while freshman setter Makaela Tanaka tossed up 39 assists to go with seven digs, four kills, and two aces. Morley was named Fordham's representative on the Rose Hill Classic All-Tournament team after tallying 41 kills over all 14 sets, one of four players to appear in every frame. Morley averaged 2.93 kills per set and added 33 digs, as well. Both Lahr and Landeros each had 29 kills over the two days. Tanaka assisted on 94 points and tossed up four aces overall, while Claire O'Neil added five more aces to her team lead for the season. The freshman also blocked a team-high 12 attacks, three ahead of senior Olivia LaPorta's nine, including one solo block. Williams led the way with 62 digs, averaging 4.43 per frame. The Rams travel cross country for next weekend's Rebel Classic hosted by UNLV at Cox Pavilion. Fordham will face the hosts at 1 p.m. this Friday and Eastern Kentucky at 8 p.m. before finishing up the weekend against Cal State Fullerton at 2:30 p.m. All times are Eastern.